Ortiz embraces windy test at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic
January 15, 2018
By Royce Thompson, PGATOUR.COM
- January 15, 2018
- Carlos Ortiz won three times on the 2014 Web.com Tour, and he aims for his fourth Tour title on a marathon Tuesday. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas – Among the five players tied for the third-round lead at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, Carlos Ortiz is the only one that completed his third round. As darkness fell on Exuma, the 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico put the finishing touches on a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68. Ortiz is the leader in the clubhouse with a 6-under-par 210 total.
Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament medalist Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson are all on the course but are currently tied with Ortiz at the top.
Third-round play was suspended at 5:32 p.m. local time and will resume Tuesday morning at 7:15 a.m.
Ortiz is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year. Ortiz struggled in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR and is starting his third season on Tour this week.
There have been a few bumps and bruises along the way on his quest to regain his PGA TOUR card, but Ortiz has learned from those experiences and has grown as a player.
“I think mentally I’m more patient,” said Ortiz, who is making his 48th career Tour start this week in the Bahamas. “I’ve learned to be more committed to the shots and let go of the bad ones. I’m just trying to enjoy this and be grateful I’m out here.”
That strategy has worked well this week as Ortiz has navigated the tough Greg Norman design better than any player who has completed 54 holes thus far. With the wind gusting to upwards of 30 miles per hour, precision and accuracy are key to turn in a good score at the Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Club, which played as the hardest course on Tour in 2017.
“It’s tough; you have to be committed to your shots,” said Ortiz, who finished tied for 21st place in the inaugural event. “You have to be confident in your lines and execute. It’s hard to put it in play, but it’s the same for everybody. I’m happy today turned out good for me.”
The conditions are expected to be just as demanding on Tuesday, making for an exciting finish to the kickoff of the 29th Tour season. With three rounds under his belt, Ortiz is in position to earn his fourth win and get a leg up on the season-long money race.
“I’ve put myself in position for the final round,” said Ortiz. “It’s where you want to be every time you tee off on the weekend. I’ll try to enjoy it and do the best I can.”
McCoy is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at the Qualifying Tournament and then turn around and win the opening event of the season. The 23-year-old from Dunedin, Florida finished inside the top five on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit to earn his Tour card and secured fully exempt status this past December in Arizona. McCoy picked up his first professional win in Canada at the Freedom 55 Financial Open last June and hopes to add to his trophy case Tuesday afternoon.
Brett Drewitt's solid tee shot for Shot of the Day